UCI-Tustin Unified Science Academy Workshop explores opportunities to enhance students' complex thinking skills
For the morning session of the workshop, teachers reflected on lesson plan implementation, considered student data and reviewed the lesson plan.
"We first discussed how to implement the co-designed curriculum in a principled way, and then how to address problems of our practices," Kang said. "One problem that the teachers identified is uneven participation among students in their lessons. They want to make all students’ voices heard in the classroom. Attending to race, language, and identities is one of the design principles that guide our work in this project."
For the classroom implementation of the co-designed lesson, physics teacher Jennifer Douglas introduced the activity to her students at Tustin High School: Draw a dream car for someone you care about and identify the necessary features.
Once the students completed a drawing, they described and justified their selection of features in small group settings. Each group agreed upon three features to share with the class. Class discussion of the preferred features provided the teachers with opportunities to tie the automobile features to various principles of physics and observe the effectiveness of the lesson.
“We heard a lot of stories about students' families and their loved ones," Kang said. "This co-designed unit is a nice example of humanizing science learning experiences, which is known to be critical to promote equity. "I can’t wait to see to what extent students see physics in their everyday life while designing the safety features of the car."
Following the first classroom visit, the teachers regrouped, revisited the morning's lesson plan, and delivered an updated version to students in Paul Tschida's physics classroom at Tustin High School.
In their closing debriefing session, the teachers read aloud student responses to the exit ticket, sorted out various ideas and questions from students, and then discussed how to adjust the rest of the units in a way of being responsive to students’ ideas and questions. The group also generated a list of “inclusive/belongingness” discourses and strategies that the teachers could use in their classrooms. This list was shared with all participating teachers afterwards.
It was the first day of a four-week unit. At the end of the unit, students will present their improved car design using a format of sales speech.
UCI team members assisting with the workshop included Jasmine Nation (a postdoctoral researcher), Dana Conlin (a graduate student researcher), and five undergraduate research assistants: Sharon Stone, Yasmeen Allie, Isabel Soto, Lupe-Barrera, and Diana Pablo-Ramirez.